Arrowtown is a spectacular playground for trail runners – we’re surrounded by scenery that will take your breath away. This gorgeous landscape of mountains, lakes, rivers and forests is crisscrossed by tracks and trails that are perfect for a sedate jog beside the Arrow River through short and sharp hill runs to all-day mountain hit outs. Of course if you can run a track you can walk it too, so look no further for easy stroll, walks to lookouts, and genuine walking peaks too.
Local running nerd and Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association chair Jimmy Sygrove has put together his top five Arrowtown trail runs, for all levels of fitness and experience. This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the trail running opportunities that surround Arrowtown, there are many other options including Big Hill, Brow Peak and even the famous Motatapu Trail (if you fancy a 52km run to Glendhu Bay near Wanaka).
There’s more information about most of Jimmy’s favourites on our website You can find a map of the trail network here . Time to start planning the next adventure!
Photo: Sean Beale, @sean.beale on Instagram
Arrow River Loop
Beginner, 4km, 30–45 minutes
This is an awesome easy run if you’re looking for a way to blow off a bit of steam for half an hour or so, Head down to the bridge at the base of Tobins Track and run down river until you hit the next bridge (near the bottom of Jopp Street). After that it’s simply a matter of crossing the river and running back up the other side until you hit the Tobins bridge again.
Beginner/intermediate, 6km, 50–75 minutes
An Arrowtown classic originally built by Thomas Tobin as road access to Wanaka, Tobins Track is now a popular walking, running and cycling track. Climbing above Arrowtown it is generally regarded as a bit of a slog on the way up, but a great return on investment, with amazing views of the Wakatipu Basin waiting at the top. For those looking to stretch this out a bit you can head down Tobins Drop and run back up the river track.
New Chums Track
Intermediate, 7km, 55–80 minutes
A good technical loop with a couple of solid climbs and some great variation in terrain, New Chums is an Arrowtown trail-running staple. Head up Tobins Track until you hit the turnoff on your left and then follow your nose (and the trail markers). You’ll run the ridgeline of Glencoe Station before descending into gullies and streams. The exit point is by the Norman Smith Bridge on the Macetown trail and from there it’s down the river until you get back to town.
Intermediate/advanced, 7km, 50–90 minutes
Of course I may be biased, but you’ll be hard placed to find a better 7km loop in New Zealand than Sawpit Gully. It’s an absolute classic. There is heated debate about whether the loop should be done clockwise or anti-clockwise. I start from the carpark near the Chinese Settlement and take the Arrow River Trail upriver. This follows the river to a signposted turn off to Sawpit Gully. The track then climbs steeply up to Eichardts Flat then drops steeply down to Bush Creek. A great combination of ferocious ups, technical descents and rock hopping through a creek bed, this run is a local favourite.
Intermediate/advanced, 15km, 2–3hrs
Perfect for those looking to stretch their legs and add a bit more vert to their runs, Miners Trail is a mountain run with varied terrain underfoot including farm track, backcountry single track and short sections of steep ascent/descent. The trail forms a loop, starting up Tobins Track and onto the Crown Terrace before heading into Glencoe Station. The route then continues up the tussocky hillside to a high point at 1047m and a breathtaking view of the Wakatipu basin. The trail narrows to single track as it cuts across the top of the mountain heading towards the big descent to the Arrow River, which you follow to get you home.
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